Beneficial actions of oleanolic acid in an experimental model of multiple sclerosis: a potential therapeutic role.
Physiol Res. 2009;58(4):511-9. Epub 2008 Jul 25. PMID: 19679109
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic autoimmune inflammatory disease for which there exist no therapies without undesired side effects. Thus, the establishment of less toxic treatments is an ongoing challenge. Nowadays, research on medicinal plants has been attracting much attention, since screening of its active principles could prove useful in identification of safe and innovative pharmaceutical molecules. In this study we investigated the therapeutic effect of oleanolic acid (OA) a plant-derived triterpene with potent anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory activities, whose actions on CNS diseases remain far from completely characterized. We focussed on the potential therapeutic effect of oleanolic acid (OA) on an accepted experimental model of MS, the experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). We have found that OA treatment, before or at the early onset of EAE, ameliorates neurological signs of EAE-mice. These beneficial effects of OA seem to be associated with a reduction of blood-brain barrier leakage and lower infiltration of inflammatory cells within the CNS, as well as with its modulatory role in Th1/Th2 polarization: inhibition of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines, and stimulation of anti-inflammatory ones. Moreover, EAE-animals that were treated with OA had lower levels of anti-MOG antibodies than untreated EAE-mice. Our findings show that the administration of the natural triterpenoid OA reduces and limits the severity and development of EAE. Therefore, OA therapy might be of clinical interest for human MS and other Th1 cell-mediated inflammatory diseases.